The way Randy Agapay tells it, he was shopping for an S-10 Stepside to build when he saw the new '00 Toyota Tacoma. Once he saw it, that was it. He just had to have it. Agapay is a true believer and says he just loves trucks, especially his TRD blown 3.4L V-6 '00 Toyota Tacoma.
Agapay's five-speed manual truck with V-6, blower, seventh injector, TRD stainless headers, all sucking and blowing through an Injen intake and Greddy exhaust, is good, claims the owner, for an estimated 270 hp. TRD's info on its supercharger on the 3.4L engine says it's rated at 260 hp. Add the extra injector, Vortec FMU rising fuel pressure regulator, an edited ECU from JET Performance, and all that oxygen-rich air on the islands, and we think he might be underestimating his engine's power.
Agapay, a tech at Maui Toyota, knew he wanted a suspension that'd harness the 270 ponies he had under his hood and still have a reasonably decent ride quality. Here's how he did it. He lowered the truck's center of gravity with a DJM 3-/4-inch drop kit. The kit includes 3-inch drop spindles for the nose and 4-inch lowering blocks for the rear. It also includes shocks. This mix of components doesn't change the spring rates, but it does use performance shocks. The combination gives a quick-reacting suspension without being overly stiff.
Lowering the suspension is a great performance mod, but it also enhances the street presence of the truck. Ride height is one of the most significant styling changes you can make that also offers a performance advantage. The performance advantage of a lower center of gravity reduces weight transfer and in so doing allows the tires to provide maximum traction.
Traction is what it's all about for a performance-oriented sport truck and that comes only from the tires, so rolling stock selection is critical to the performance of this truck. Agapay chose Falken Azenis 225/40-18 radials on 18x7.5-inch Volk Racing GTC wheels. The Falken Azenis tires are super-grippy race-bred components that meet SCCA Street-class specs. The Volk Racing GTC is a two-piece forged aluminum wheel, so it's light and strong and allows the manufacturer to offer more offset options. Keeping the suspension's unsprung weight minimized improves a vehicle's ride and the level of traction it generates when accelerating on less-than-perfect road surfaces.
Of course, you can get these performance benefits in a wheel and tire combination that absolutely destroys a vehicle's style if you don't size it properly for the vehicle and get the right offset to position the outboard edge of the rolling stock for maximum style and function. Wheel fitment is just right for this Taco'. The rolling package is sized to fill the wheelwells, allowing the wheelwell arch to appropriately frame the wheel. The offset also puts the wheel just inside the fender lip so the body doesn't interfere with the tire's movement without showing a lot of wheelwell gap.
Style is an important aspect of building a sport truck, and this Taco' has plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle styling choices that make this truck work performance- and style-wise. The owner changed the style of the nose with a spoiler sourced through Performance Products, then he shaved the door handles, antenna, and tailgate handle, and installed an LED third brake light. Then he had Campos Auto Body paint the truck in DuPont Porsche Riviera Blue.
While the owner did most of the bodywork himself and subcontracted the paint to a professional, he and a couple pals built the race-inspired interior. Built into the carbon-fiber panels, dash, and custom work of the interior is a serious Alpine mobile entertainment system. The system is headed up with a DVA 7996 unit that plays to a 7-inch monitor that replaces the rearview mirror and through an array of 6-1/2-inch component Type R speakers and 12-inch subwoofers. The high end of the system is powered by an Alpine MRV F540 amp with the bottom end hit boosted with an MRD M500 amp. The system is wired up with EFX cable, connectors, and fuse block. He also used an Alpine H-510 processor and a BBE Sonic Maximizer plug-in to shape his sound, and an Optima Yellow Top cell battery keeps it hitting hard.